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Using !! with watch

Posted in Code

Ubuntu Linux Logo

I use the Linux utility watch all the time to monitor the output of a command over and over again. It’s especially useful when combined with ls, df or du to provide an update every second. Sometimes stringing together these commands can be confusing, then passing them to watch -n1 is gets even harder especially if you use quotes of any kind.

A simple trick I’ve started using is getting the command right the first time, then using watch -n1 !! with bash’s variable interpolation to replace !! with the previous command.

See the man page for more about watch.

TIBCO and The Frontier Group

Posted in Agile Development, Industry Trends, Inside TFG

Last month The Frontier Group joined the TIBCO Partner Network program and in doing so formalised an agreement that has been under development for over nine months.

This formal partnership sees us join a prestigious group of IT consulting, integration and software development companies who specialise in delivering and extending TIBCO software solutions for large enterprise customers. Collectively we have already begun solving unique problems across a variety of markets and industries with a focus on health, communication, banking and finance, government, transport and retail.

We expect to make our first project-completion announcements around oil and gas exploration, iron ore production and resource transport during Q3 2013.

The agility, focus and creativity our web application and mobile development customers have enjoyed for over a decade position us well to disrupt the stale enterprise software arena. Through this partnership with TIBCO we will deliver modern, accessible and secure applications to customers who have typically had to settle for less.

We’re very proud of this new alignment and look forward to making future announcements shortly.

Understanding Google Analytics Seminar

Posted in Inside TFG, SEO, Speaking Engagements, Websites or Tools

Wednesday, 19 September 2012 at 3:30-5:00PM

Through the use of Google Analytics you can see how visitors to your website are spending their time, what’s important to them and what’s being ignored. This seminar will demystify analytics and give you the insight you need to better manage your web property.

Topics include:

  • The history of web analytics
  • Installing Google Analytics
  • Terminology and jargon
  • Standard and Custom Reporting
  • Real-Time statistics
  • Measuring the success of SEO
  • Creating custom dashboards
  • Using GA with other systems (Eventbrite)
  • Looking to the future

You will have an opportunity to discuss your specific requirements and situation with a web professional who can make suggestions and recommendations.

This seminar will be useful for anyone responsible or interested in website management.

The content is of a moderate technical nature. No programming experience is required. A laptop is not required. Wireless internet access is available.

Eventbrite - Understanding Google Analytics

Positions available: Ruby Developers

Posted in Inside TFG

The Frontier Group is a boutique software development company based in West Perth. We have a strong focus on web software, and utilise Ruby on Rails and JavaScript to build web and mobile (specifically iPhone and Android) applications. We’re looking to take on experienced developers to work with our team on our internal and client projects.

Is this you?

You understand the difference between websites and web applications, and you want to write apps that matter for people that care about them.

You’ll have a track record of working on completed projects. You’ll have a few years commercial experience, probably working as part of a team doing solid but under-appreciated work. You will have experience with Mac, Linux or UNIX, but it might not be your daily environment. Similarly you will have an opinion about vi vs. Emacs or Python vs. Ruby, but you’ll understand that they’re just opinions.

You’ll care about your tools and will take real, genuine pride in the quality of the code you create. You won’t consider automated testing and continuous integration as optional components of a project, and will appreciate automated deployment procedures too. Learning new programming languages and getting more out of the languages you already know will excite you. Efficiency will be important too, and you’ll be looking for ways to automate your workflow and push the repetition off to a script.

You’ll be confident in your programming ability, regardless of the language you prefer, yet humble enough to seek guidance when needed. You’ll know how JavaScript can be used to enhance the web, and will have demonstrated experience with a leading JavaScript library. You might even care about SASS and HAML, if you’re really cool.

Using the right tools is important and we realise that. We don’t have a parent company dictating how we do things or what our “standard operating environment” is – you’ll get to make those decisions with us. We all use MacBook Pros for development, but you might want a new iMac, for example. You’ll keep up to date with current trends and care about using modern techniques and practices, as well as tools and technologies.

What we give you

  • Variable salary, dependent on position (Starting at $63,000 on probation)
  • 9% superannuation (on top of salary)
  • A MacBook Pro with SSD (yours to keep, replaced every two years) ~$3,500
  • $1,000 travel allowance per year (parking, bike servicing, public transport)
  • Internet and mobile allowance ($80 each per month)
  • Current and relevant books, training, tools and gear
  • Pay reviews every 6 months with no ceiling on earning potential
  • Freedom to grow your role with our organisation

What you give us

  • Agreed units of production (standard working week)
  • Your creative genius and passion

How to apply

Send a short email to and reference your Github and Stack Overflow accounts, along with any Open Source projects you’re involved with. Include a resume if it’s three pages or less.

*International applicants are also welcome

Lights out management of a NetApp FAS2020

Posted in Inside TFG, Tips and Tricks

Our DEVOPS team manage a NetApp FAS2020 filer for a customer, and recently our network monitoring systems began reporting an issue connecting to the device’s BMC (Board Management Controller). This is the independent processor that provides the lowest level access to the system. In theory, if everything was to break and the machine was to blow up, we should be able to log into the BMC and find out what is going on. It’s an entirely separate computer tasked with providing a (secure!) back-door to the system in case of catastrophic failure.

Even though NetApp has a phenomenal reputation – at a technical seminar last year, a sales engineer said that no NetApp customer has ever lost data due to a hardware failure – I still don’t feel comfortable without access to the BMC.

Access to the BMC (on other NetApp devices the LOM controller is called a Remote Management Controller, or RMC) is via SSH, using naroot as the username. From here you can move “up the chain” to a system console, and use CTRL-G to move “down the chain” back to the BMC.

mlambie@prime:~$ ssh naroot@ilca-netapp-bmc
naroot@ilca-netapp-bmc's password:
=== OEMCLP v1.0.0 BMC v1.2 ===
bmc shell ->
bmc shell -> system console
Press ^G to enter BMC command shell
Data ONTAP (
login: root
ilca-netapp> Mon Mar 12 11:40:27 WST [console_login_mgr:info]: root logged in from console
ilca-netapp> <ctrl g>
=== OEMCLP v1.0.0 BMC v1.2 ===
bmc shell ->

The filer also allows management via SSH directly, and not through the BMC. I used this shell to restart the BMC.

ilca-netapp> bmc help status
bmc status
- Display status for a Baseboard Managment Controller (BMC).
ilca-netapp> bmc help reboot
bmc reboot
- Reboot the Baseboard Managment Controller (BMC)
ilca-netapp> bmc reboot
ilca-netapp> The BMC rebooted successfully

It looks like the SSH daemon was simply hung (it had an uptime of 270+ days prior to the reboot) and restarting the BMC through the management console in this way corrected the issues the monitoring systems were reporting.

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